dan pearlman Experience Architecture has designed a 7, 000m2 immersive facility that celebrates the giant panda at Everland Resort, South Korea.
Panda World, themed on the animals' native habitat, features a panda enclosure, exhibition space, classrooms, a shop, and café.
China has loaned South Korea a pair of pandas, Ai Bao and Le Bao, who moved into their new home in early March.
“The landscape of Sichuan Province was our main theme in designing the exhibition, ” explains Kieran Stanley, CEO of dan pearlman. “We wanted visitors to feel like they’re transported to the habitat of the giant pandas and immersed in their lush natural surroundings."
Sichuan Province, east of the Tibetan high plateau, is characterised by mountain ranges, rivers and dense forests. dan pearlman incorporated bamboo, ginko and coniferous trees, rock formations, small streams and waterfalls into the facility to reflect the panda’s natural habitat.
Pandas are critically endangered and particularly sensitive to disturbance, with only 1, 864 animals left in the wild. To best meet the needs of the captive animals, dan pearlman consulted with 15 international panda experts at the start of the project. Special features include separate foundations to reduce noise and vibration, and separate enclosures that allow the usually solitary pandas to come together during the short mating season.
The company, also responsible for the ground-breaking Islands exhibit at Chester Zoo, has created an immersive journey that leads visitors from Panda Plaza, through Otter Fall to the Twilight Experience, the only one of its kind in the world to give visitors a glimpse of the panda’s nocturnal habitat. From here, they walk through a bamboo grove until finally seeing Ai Bao and Le Bao.
“I am particularly pleased with the confidence Everland Resort has shown us, ” comments Stanley. “Designing a panda enclosure, which was also the first of its kind in the country, was a great honour for our office. Our hope is that the pandas will feel especially comfortable and safe in their new habitat. Who knows, with a little luck, there may soon be offspring.”
dan pearlman is currently designing the new panda enclosure for the Berlin Zoo, slated to open in 2017.